Leicester review, Thu 11th May (12/5/00)

Leigh Hunt:

The mad dash from Redhill to Leicester became a slow crawl as first the M25 and then the M1 decided to slow to a walking place. Thankfully it soon speeded up and Rothersthorpe North and South flew by. Arriving in Leicester, we found a b&b and a taxi who took us to The Charlotte (after a brief argument with the mustachioed taxi driver as to whether it was located on Oxford or Newark St). The venue was a bleak derelict-looking building on a busy junction. As we pulled up, I saw Geoff entering the gloomy interior but the doors were still firmly shut to patrons even though it was 8pm. A man who had chatted with Geoff told us that the band weren't even here yet. He proceeded to tell me that he only had Back in the DHSS and had listened to Godcore once and thought it was crap. Just as I was about to defend their corner, he ran off to have a piss. We took this opportunity to escape and went for a stroll round the block. The block was equally deserted and scary so hying back to the venue, we were glad to find it open. Inside, a warm, dingy club beckoned us in with promise of alcohol.

Support came from MJ Hibbert and the Validators who I'd not seen before. If you haven't, imagine Billy Bragg's voice over HMHB-tinged lyrics and sound and you'd be halfway there. The original songs were very enjoyable, particularly the one with the chorus of "You'll be hearing from my solicitor", but home support was won over with a quality cover of Quality Janitor.

Onto the main proceedings and the Biscuits took the stage at 10pm and fired off with Irk the Purists. As with the last London gig, there seemed to be a reluctance to start any serious moshing. I don't know whether it's the band's performance, their choice of songs or our nervousness but again, it was four or five songs in before the bouncing started. Needless to say, the rest of the packed Charlotte were certainly enjoying the occasion, howling their approval at the end of each song.

The set continued with Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes, 3rd Track, Fred Titmus, 4 Skinny Indie Kids, Monmore Hares Running, Uffington, Secret Gig, Running Order, Malayan Jelutong, Improv Workshop, Mathematically, Look Dad, Gubba, Outbreak, Capel Curig and AOR. They also did a great segue from Fretwork Homework into Trumpton Riots.

A trio of very pissed blokes kept some of us amused by requesting Eno (to the tune of Eagles!) at every opportunity, calling Ken 'Frank' and by miming hilariously to the 'Schhh' bits on Secret Gig. Unfortunately their banter often drowned out Nigel's witticisms though the poor sound system can't have helped. I did get to hear The Robbie Williams & Liam Gallagher song as well "Does the heroin lose its flavour on the bedpan overnight?"; the one about tip toeing through the front row of the Yes show with a machine gun and the one about "my brother" - Mansfield's own Steve Malkmus.

Finally the encore settled with Paintball, Cynical, Time Flies By and Bike's Kept Clean. They'd been on for nearly an hour and a half and the atmosphere was pleasantly sweaty. After a refreshing last pint, we filtered out past the awaiting Birkenhead Van Hire bus and into the night. We decided to walk down Narborough Road as we then had time to get some chips.